I’ve broken down and purchased my first UFC fight kit produced by Reebok. Before you barbarically begin pelting me with stones, the name streaked across a panel of my back reflects the antithesis of corporate greed; actually, the name isn’t even found on the UFC’s roster, at least not directly.
I racked my brain for the perfect fight kit. Requirements included:
- A passionate pledge to the combatants, professional or amateur
- Gestures to germinate the sport’s growth
- Euphoria from MMA’s enjoyment
The name I’ll slip into each day mirrors the trials, tenacity, and triumphs in the topography of MMA: Trent Cotney, attorney at law.
Cotney, an attorney who focuses his practice on all aspects of construction and commercial legislation, climbs into cages around the world, yet a ring announcer has never formally introduced him. As a sponsor of MMA fighters, Cotney, a self-proclaimed MMA junkie, puts his money where his heart is,
“For me, it’s more about supporting the fighters. I know how hard it is for the guys on the prelims of cards, or on Fight Pass, to get by. They’re not concerned about buying their next Bentley; they’re concerned about feeding their family and kids.”
Cotney’s correct. Mixed martial artists who stand on one of the initial rungs of the sport’s rankings face incredible hardships. The UFC’s partnership with Reebok instantly archived our present in MMA’s history: the Reebok era, and much of the MMA community finds it to be contradictory that a faceless corporation as Reebok instructs its consumers: Be More Human. Cotney is very much a human, and he described the humanistic creativity he has explored with his fighters to maintain their active sponsorships:
“On the Nashville card [UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Saint Preux], I sponsored: Roman Salazar (9-4 1NC), Ray Borg (9-1), and Frankie Saenz (11-2), and these were all fighters who I had sponsored before. I’m loyal to fighters who are good to me, and I’ll stay with them, regardless of what happens to them. All three of those guys are good guys. They did some stuff on social media for me, and there were some shout out opportunities on various radio shows. There are things like that that they could do.”
There is no blueprint to map out how to function as a sponsor in the ever-changing MMA world, but Cotney isn’t afraid to throw on his thinking cap in a hard-hat zone and brainstorm possible solutions. He continued,
“I’ve racked my brain; I’ve got to have some sort of justification to keep handing money to these guys.”
The chuckle Cotney paired with this thought read more accurately as: Cotney teeters on paying athletes for simply adorning screens with their awesomeness. After quickly recovering from his lost contemplation, he went on,
“Other than appearances, which is difficult in my industry, it’s difficult to figure out at this point for UFC guys.”
Fair and impartial in the matters pertaining to the sponsorship docket, Cotney offered evidence on the benefits to smattering apparel with his law firm’s name: TrentCotney.com:
“I think there’s a lot of benefit in sponsoring fighters, even if it is only digital. It’s about supporting them, and you never know; for example, even now fighters go on there [current fight cards], and even if I’ve sponsored them in the past, I get replay time; and that happened throughout the Nashville card. So there’s value there.”
I champion those who strive to sustain a sport that showcases the world’s most electrifying entertainers. Listening to Cotney during the interview roped me back to the first key strokes I began patterning approximately five months ago; I believed crafting lines of perspective would portray the positivity that often remains pinned to the mat, blanketed by topics of narrowed interests or gossip most attractive to mainstream appeal.
“It’s hard for any sponsor to say this, but I don’t expect to receive a direct business correlation between doing it. It’s about seeing someone who is following mixed martial arts, is doing what they’re supposed to do in real life, and sponsoring them. I don’t think there is a downfall in sponsoring televised Bellator fights, or WSOF (World Series of Fighting).”
My mom always told me I should have been a lawyer!
Check out Trent Cotney’s interview with The MMA Report for yourself: